Discrete subaortic stenosis typically appears as a well-defined membrane beneath the aortic valve. To assess the merits of alternative approaches to this problem, we have reviewed the results of operations for discrete subaortic stenosis from 1978 through 1990. Excision of the subaortic membrane alone was performed in 16 patients (group I). Excision of the membrane with resection of septal muscle was performed in 24 patients (group II). The groups were similar in age at operation, duration of follow-up, and preoperative and postoperative transvalvar gradients. There were no operative or late deaths. Reoperations for recurrent subaortic stenosis were performed in 4 group I patients (25%; 70% confidence limits, 16% to 38%) and 1 group II patient (4%; 70% confidence limits, 2% to 11%). Pacemakers were inserted for postoperative complete heart block in 1 group I patient (6%; 70% confidence limits, 2% to 16%) and 2 group II patients (8%; 70% confidence limits, 4% to 16%). We conclude that muscle resection combined with membrane excision in patients with discrete subaortic stenosis does not increase the risk of death or heart block, and does lower the risk of reoperation for recurrent subaortic stenosis.